GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Naval Reserve Officers Corps (NROTC) midshipmen from across the United States participated in the first "Sea Trials" training program at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, June 2-11.
The Sea Trials training program is designed to build NROTC midshipmen proficiency in critical warfighting skills and evaluate the effectiveness of their training.
Sixty-nine midshipmen took part in the 10-day training that tested their mettle and prepared them to be future warfighters and naval officers. See what they experienced here:
"This was an opportunity for the midshipmen to learn, train and test themselves," said Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command. "What we really wanted out of this event was to give NROTC Midshipman the opportunity to train for an extended period of time, develop the bond of being a team and to obtain real Navy qualifications like Fire Fighting, Damage Control Wet Trainer, 9mm and others all while doing it in a safe but stressful environment to help get them ready for the Fleet. We taught them new skills that they are going to need including the concept of warrior toughness to deal stress, and we tested them under considerable stress to ensure they could handle it, all while maintaining a safe training environment."
Throughout the 10 days, midshipmen were trained in firefighting, damage control, watchstanding, seamanship, navigation, force protection, swimming, physical fitness and military inspection by NROTC staff.
To help midshipmen endure the exhaustive training and testing schedule, and prepare them for an operational mindset, they were first trained in "Warrior Toughness," using Navy Special Operations techniques for managing and overcoming high mental and physical stress environments.
During their training, all 69 midshipmen earned level-1 qualifications in damage control and firefighting as well as the 9mm service pistol qualification.
At the culmination of Sea Trials, midshipmen faced a grueling all-day final exam called "Battle Stations," which pushed their limits and evaluated their physical, mental, emotional, and moral capabilities to overcome rigorous challenges in each skill. Coming together as a team to tackle each evolution, all 69 midshipmen successfully passed Battle Stations, but not without hurdles.
"I honestly did not know what to expect coming in and definitely did not expect the intensity from the drill instructors or the high stress events," said Midshipmen 2nd Class Joseph Ginnane, from Rochester University and Buffalo, New York. "My biggest takeaway from the week was learning how to react in high stress situations."
"There was an anxiety amongst us all coming in to the unknown," said Midshipmen 2nd Class Carissa Baldwin, from the University of Notre Dame and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. "You could not get through any of the events without teamwork and that was continuously stressed by all the instructors."
Sea Trials runs in conjunction with the NROTC 2nd Class Summer Cruise. It provides midshipmen with necessary training that is a required by the Navy Professional Core Competencies manual, and it aligns officer training curriculum to better develop naval warfighters with character and professional competence for service in the Fleet.
"We knew this training would help develop our midshipmen into tough and capable officers," said Captain Wayne Grasdock, NROTC Sea Trials lead. "But we didn't know it would be this successful. For the first time ever, midshipmen are receiving realistic, tough, required Fleet training, where they can compete and rank themselves against their peers; and I am looking forward to expanding this opportunity to all officers in training."
Sea Trials continues this month in Jacksonville, Florida, where more than 100 midshipmen from across the country will aim to achieve the same success as those who participated in the Newport program.
Follow their progress live at: https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/
The NROTC program is supported by the commander of Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi and his NSTC staff at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. NROTC was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically. The program also imbues in them the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
NSTC supports 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC's support also includes RTC, the Navy's only boot camp also at Naval Station Great Lakes, the NROTC program at more than 160 colleges and universities, OTC at Newport, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.